by Curtis Lanclos
Ever since I was a wee lad I have been a lover of the James Bond film franchise. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, I used to sit almost directly in front of our Zenith TV set to watch whichever 007 flick was gracing the airwaves via the iconic ABC Sunday Night at the Movies. Chief among my memories were the Sean Connery films You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever.
The first in the series which I actually viewed in the theater was 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, featuring the late Roger Moore as 007. In retrospect, this was Moore’s finest performance as Bond and it was also one of the best films in the series as a whole; mainly because it had a believable villain, a plausible macguffin (the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator or A.T.A.C.) and, unlike 1979’s Moonraker, it didn’t rely too heavily on gadgets provided by Q (the British Secret Service’s quartermaster). Seeing Bond on the big screen for the first time was an amazing experience, and it really wet my appetite to make an espionage film of my own.
As fate would have it, in the fall of that same year, my parents provided me with a Minolta Super 8mm Film Camera. After using it to produce several out of focus stop-motion animation films and the like, I started to become rather proficient with this camera. In the spring of 1984, I was finally ready to make my own James Bond spoof film.
I somehow suckered my high school friends Mark Ingram, Ken Thompson and Scott Hammond to participate with me in this nerdy exercise. The film was originally named Intrigue (at the suggestion of my cousin Jeff Burke). The film starred me as “The Agent” of course, and the very simple plot centered around the briefcase I was carrying (and an unnamed evil organization’s desire to obtain it). The beginning and end titles were created with my Commodore 64 computer, and there was no sound. For the car chase scene we filmed, I drove my AMC Gremlin and Mark drove his sister’s Chevy Camaro.
Sadly, the movie was never really brought to a satisfying conclusion; after my high school graduation, the other “actors” and I essentially went our separate ways and never finished it. Additionally, once I obtained a home video camera later that year, my career as a Super 8 Filmmaker was pretty much shelved. After all, NTSC video is a much friendlier format which didn’t require film processing at the local K-Mart.
However, in 2007 I had the film transferred to video by Home Movie Depot, and used Adobe Premiere to add a soundtrack with music and sound effects. I renamed the movie Shaken and Stirred, a variated homage to the way 007 orders his signature vodka martini (“shaken, not stirred”), and it was uploaded to YouTube. Here is the finished product…
Although this isn’t a big budget feature, it brings back many pleasant memories. The Members Only jacket, Izod shirt, Bass deck shoes and “wings” hairstyle are all immortalized as a reminder of the very “tubular” ’80s pop culture. Will “The Agent” return as promised in the end credits? Time will tell, so stay tuned.